Some travel brands have been at the forefront of LGBT travel for years and deserve to be recognized for getting out ahead of the mainstream. But this ruling of course opens the flood gates to wedding tourism in more states, and tourism boards will have their hands full planning for more LGBT travelers.
The U.S. Supreme Court made history today by ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, effectively legalizing it in all 50 states.
Many travel brands quickly took to social media to voice their support (see below) and other tourism boards across the country also reflected on what the ruling means to them.
“This is the icing on the cake for us,” said Richard Gray, the LGBTQ Managing Director for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We made a commitment in 1996 to be LGBTQ friendly and we launched #LoveIsLove in February when we got marriage equality in Florida. We’re thankful to corporate America for their help with this over the years.”
“I don’t think [the ruling] will change what we do. Last year we had 1.5 million LGBT visitors come to Fort Lauderdale who spent $1.5 billion dollars and I’m sure that will go up next year. But this is an opportunity for other destinations to really sit down and really be a little bit more strategic than they’ve been and focus more on LGBT tourism. LGBT tourism made us the destination we are today with a sense of ease.”
Other Brands React
Apoorva Gandhi, VP of Multicultural Affairs for Marriott: “It’s not simply just the right thing for business, it’s just the right thing to do. We Joined the Supreme Court’s amicus briefing on the case for marriage equality and Marriott was a signatory on this. It just so happens that the world is focused on LGBT folks but we’re not only focusing on LGBT travelers even though that’s very important to us.
“Our #LoveTravels campaign also looked at African Americans and other demographics of travelers. We’re all about travelers sharing their unique stories no matter what background they come from. We’ll be celebrating this weekend at the Chicago LGBT pride parade where we’ll have a float. We were also one of the first companies to offer same-sex benefits to our employees so that made it easier to operate in states where same-sex marriage might have been banned in the past.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia Inc.: “Expedia, Inc., is a proud supporter of marriage equality for same-sex couples everywhere, and we are grateful on behalf of our diverse customers, clients, partners and employees, for the Supreme Court decision today and the important step forward this represents.”
Barney Harford, CEO, Orbitz Worldwide: “At Orbitz we’ve been advocates of equality and inclusion since our founding in 2001. As a signatory to the amicus brief calling on the Supreme Court to find gay marriage bans unconstitutional, we are very happy with the Supreme Court’s decision and will continue to fight for full equality for everyone.”
John Tanzilla, president and CEO, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association: “We celebrate a great victory for equality and love today, as the United States becomes the 20th country in the world to grant nationwide marriage rights to same-sex couples. When a country legally supports its LGBT citizens, we know the positive impact transcends borders. Global gay and lesbian travelers want to experience destinations where their relationships are respected, and now the U.S. will be one of them.”
Brands On Social
The hashtag #SCOTUS was receiving 1,000 tweets per minute from roughly 50,000 people, according to Twitter’s Curator platform. Within the first hour of ruling, airlines, hotels, and tourism boards were one of the first to celebrate this historical event.
To be timely and keep it safe, NYC and Company tweeted a photo without copy, but some brands really put themselves out there. American Airlines and JetBlue created an on-brand photo and shared their heartfelt sentiment with grace. Other brands like Kimpton Hotels was on deck and had an animation ready to post. Lastly, both Visit Philly and Hilton Hotels published photos of what same-sex marriage and modern families look like.
“We knew the SCOTUS decision was just around the corner and thought a beautifully designed animation of all 50 states lighting up would be the most visually impactful. It’s moving, highly shareable and best of all, celebratory. We’ve always been committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for our guests and employees and couldn’t be more thrilled with this milestone ruling.” – Mike DeFrino, CEO, Kimpton Hotels
Cara Schneider, Media Relations Director at Visit Philly said, “We’ve been working on this [supporting the LGBTQ community] for over 15 years now. We knew it was going to come out in late June so we had our social strategy ready. This was such an unbelievable convergence of events for us in that we’re celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement on the Fourth of July for the fourth year, known as ‘Reminder Day’.”
— Visit Philly (@visitphilly) June 26, 2015
Other Brands On Social
— W Hotels (@WHotels) June 26, 2015
— Hilton Hotels (@HiltonHotels) June 26, 2015
— Marriott Internat'l (@MarriottIntl) June 26, 2015
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) June 26, 2015
— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) June 26, 2015
Photo credit: Two women vowing their love in marriage in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly ... and sisterly love. Visit Philly / Visit Philly